By Jo Nesbo
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061133992, 528pp.)
Publication Date: December 1, 2007
List Price: $24.95*
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From one of the most celebrated crime writers in Europe comes an epic new novel, brilliant in scope and design—a deep and fearless investigation of betrayal spanning two centuries and three continents.
Police Detective Harry Hole has made a terrible mistake. An embarrassment in the line of duty has pulled him off his usual beat. Reassigned to mundane surveillance tasks, he reluctantly agrees to monitor neo-Nazi activities in Oslo. But as Hole is drawn into an underground world of illegal gun trafficking, brutal beatings, and sexual extortions, he soon learns that he must act fast to prevent an international conspiracy from unfolding.
Trapped in the crosshairs of the man with all the answers, Harry Hole plunges headlong into a mystery with roots deep in the past. His investigation takes him back to Norway's darkest hour—when members of the young nation's government collaborated with leaders of Nazi Germany. Dredging up a painful history of denial, Hole turns his attention to the Norwegian troops who fought for Adolf Hitler on the Eastern front. Branded by their countrymen as traitors, the soldiers who survived the brutal Russian winter—the hunger, fear, cold, grenades, and snipers—returned home as scapegoats of a nation's atonement. Sixty years later, old grudges and betrayals appear to have been laid to rest, until Hole realizes that someone has begun to pick off the surviving soldiers one by one.
With only his troubled, guilt-ridden conscience as a guide, Hole must move quickly through the traps and mirrors of a twisted criminal mind. But as his sanity slips in a slow burn of anger and alcohol, his mistakes continue to pile up. And if he fails to quicken the pace, Norway's darkest hour since World War II just might lie in the future.
In a tightly woven plot that takes readers from the icy steppes of the Russian front to a seemingly peaceful springtime in modern-day Oslo, Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbø delves into a sinister national history with uncommon bravery. Transforming shades of moral gray into an explosive palette of characters, Nesbø holds readers in suspense until the final pages. His deft orchestration of parallel narratives knows no match in the genre, and his thematic reach exceeds even the most ambitious thrillers on the market. With the U.S. publication of The Redbreast, American readers will learn what European readers have known for a decade—that Nesbø's writing is "quite simply brilliant" (Weekend-Avisen, Denmark).